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How much could it cost to get fit in 2017?

How much could it cost to get fit in 2017?

Category: Money
Author: Leanne Macardle
Date: 23/04/2018

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

We're almost a week into 2017, and hopefully, many of those New Year's Resolutions
are still going strong. Figures suggest that the most popular resolution is to achieve a healthier lifestyle, but just how much could that ambition set you back in the year ahead?

Good intentions…

Research from American Express shows that 33% of respondents plan to exercise more this year and 31% hope to eat healthier, with this commitment to physical health ranking above saving money (28%), spending more time with family and friends (13%) and getting more sleep (13%), highlighting how many plan to take the "new year, new me" concept to task.

In order to achieve this, 86% said they'll be buying more fruit and vegetables, while 64% will follow a special diet or eating programme and 40% plan to invest in fitness clothing to boost their motivation and get their year off to an active start – but some of these ideas could add a lot to your annual budget.

… high price?

The research identified the 10 most popular health and fitness items together with their related expenditure, and the total may surprise you.

Gym/studio membership was the most expensive resolution, costing the 31% who planned to sign up an average of £246 a year for the privilege. A health/fitness holiday could also cost a pretty penny, with the 20% who plan to book such a break shelling out £227 in the process.

A further 23% were planning on booking consultations with a health/fitness professional (such as a nutritionist or physiotherapist) at a cost of £174 over the year, while 32% want to buy gym equipment for the home, costing some £160. Even adding extra fruit and veg to the weekly shop can add £164 to the annual grocery bill, while following a special diet will add £149, and health-related technology devices (such as fitness trackers) will cost the 29% of planned purchasers around £127.

Meanwhile, new kitchen gadgets (such as juicers) will set 33% of respondents back £122, while supplements (31%) will tot up to £121 and new fitness clothes will total £102. This means that, if you really went to town and did all of the above to reach your resolution, it'd add up to a whopping £1,592 over the year.

Stick to your guns – without breaking the bank

Although only 8% of those interviewed said they kept their 2016 New Year's resolutions, 43% are more optimistic about their prospects for the next 12 months and feel confident they'll stick to their plans, but just how can you do so without blowing the budget in the process?

American Express recommends that you start small before you dive right in, perhaps by asking for a free trial of a gym before you commit to signing up for the year. You may find you don't even need to join – many places offer fitness classes on a pay-as-you go basis, removing the need to sign up to a pricey contract, and don't forget that there are plenty of ways you can exercise for free. Going for a jog around the block or even a brisk walk could be all you need, and you'll be able to find plenty of at-home exercise videos online if you don't mind a bit of research.

However, you may find that joining a gym keeps you motivated, and you'll probably have other things to pay for to keep you on track, too – which is why you'll need to make sure that you're savvy with your spending. Start by looking out for vouchers or discounts wherever you can, and always browse the sale rails if you're after some new workout clothes.

And, if you'll be using credit to fund your purchases – which should only be considered if you're truly financially organised and can afford the repayments – make sure you're getting one that works for you. Opting for a reward or cashback credit card could be ideal.

"UK adults are starting the year with renewed vigour when it comes to health and fitness goals, but while there is a cost implication to this, our research shows that saving money is also a priority for many," said Jenny Cheung, director at American Express. "If you are planning to splash out on a new wellbeing regime, putting related expenditure on a credit card that earns rewards or cashback is one way of ensuring your bank balance remains healthy too by getting something back for your spending."

These cards give something back every time you spend, which could make those workout sessions feel even more rewarding. You may even find you can rack up enough points or earn enough cashback to get some health and fitness items for free, which could be a great way to keep you motivated (just make sure you can pay the balance off in full each month, otherwise those points won't be enough to compensate for the extra interest you'd need to pay).

So, while it could cost a fair amount to get fit in 2017, don't let that put you off – go about it the right way and you could have a healthy bank balance as well as a healthy body by the time the year is out!

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Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.